Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Issues

Food is a nodal point for multiple interconnected issues and concerns. The categories below highlight a few of the most critical, including food security and nutrition, water, governance and policy, and health issues.

26 September 2013

FAO published a new report in September 2013 with revised estimates for GHG emissions from livestock. The “Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock:  a global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities” report and two accompanying technical reports are long awaited since they include an updated estimate of the livestock sector’s GHG contribution -  putting the figure at a lower 14.5 percent of global human-caused emissions, compared to 18 percent in the previous report from 2006.

26 September 2013

New evidence suggests that a chemical mechanism operating in the roots of a tropical grass used for livestock feed holds enormous promise for reducing the emission of nitrous oxide. N2O is the most harmful of the warming gases, with a global warming potential 296 times that of carbon dioxide. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the livestock sector accounts for 65 percent of the nitrous oxide emitted.

26 September 2013

In a recent article in BioScience, researchers argue that land-use decisions need to take into account the multiple impacts of revegetating agricultural landscapes. If decision making fails to address the wide range of issues of importance for landscapes, carbon farming (carbon markets and related international schemes that allow payments to landholders for planting trees) may have harmful effects, such as degrading ecosystems and causing food supply problems.

26 September 2013

This paper, recently published in Global Environmental Change, addresses the issue of ‘Enhancing the sustainability of commodity supply chains in tropical forest and agricultural landscapes’. It portrays some of the many interventions through which state, civil society and market actors can influence commodity supply chains, and provides a framework for comparing, planning and evaluating different interventions.

17 September 2013

This video introduces the themes and goals of the Global Landscapes Forum which will take place in Warsaw 16-17 November this year, during COP 19. The forum will focus on issues such as how we can feed a growing population without clearing the world’s remaining forests to make way for new farmland and how we can stem the tide of climate change. The overall aim is to discuss how a “landscapes approach” can help us address these issues.

Click here to see the video.

17 September 2013

This book focuses on the food security in India, arguing that the challenges India faces have particular significance worldwide. It says that India’s chronic food security problem is a function of a distinctive interaction of economic, political and environmental processes. It says that a well-rounded appreciation of the problem is required, informed by the FAO’s conception of food security as encompassing availability (production), access (distribution) and utilisation (nutritional content), as well as by Amartya Sen’s notions of entitlements and capabilities.

17 September 2013

Approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted.  This FAO report argues that this waste represents a missed opportunity to improve global food security, and to mitigate the environmental impacts resulting from the food supply chain.

17 September 2013

This research quantifies the short-term costs of delaying action when confronted with the climate challenge. It concludes that the later climate policy implementation starts, the faster -- hence the more expensive -- emissions have to be reduced if states world-wide want to achieve the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial level.

17 September 2013

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York have built a model that looks at the pressure that UK consumption activities place on biodiversity overseas. The model, funded by  Defra, provides a framework for assessing the links between goods and services consumed in the UK but imported from overseas to potential impacts of their production on biodiversity in their country of origin. The model can be used to explore the impacts of over 200 agricultural products (and many other products of non-agricultural systems, e.g. mining, forestry and fisheries), and can break down consumption impacts resulting from demand from specific product groups.

17 September 2013

This paper presents 12 principles for achieving both better and more food from mature perennial agroecosystems and seeks to contribute to the debate on sustainable intensification. It provides a model, or policy roadmap, for sustainably intensifying productive tropical and sub-tropical agriculture in ways that are both pro-poor and multifunctional – i.e. that enhance agriculture economically, socially and environmentally. The paper examines the role of perennial species, especially trees, in the helping improve staple crop yields; providing nutritious food; reducing poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation; improving rural livelihoods; and mitigating climate change.

17 September 2013

This paper addresses the following key question: How much land-based greenhouse gas mitigation can be achieved without compromising food security and environmental goals?

Taking the AFOLU sector (Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use), the paper starts by distinguishing and quantifying the range of options for action on the a. supply-side (improved management of biomass, soils, livestock, and energy use in agriculture and forestry) and b. the demand-side (reducing food waste, limiting over-consumption, and shifting to less resource-intense diets) before considering some of the trade offs and interactions among the different options.

17 September 2013

This paper is the outcome of the Global Food Security Programme’s six-month project to identify priority research questions for the UK food system. It details the rationale, process and outcomes of Global Food Security project.

The identified priority research questions are aimed at improving the UK food system’s efficiency and effectiveness and complement other studies that have been framed from a more productionist viewpoint. The authors also try to adopt a wider understanding of “food security” – one that incorporates nutritional content, food safety, preferences and affordability in addition to availability of supply.

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